You’ve probably heard the word “niche” before. If you are entering the world of online stores to start a new side hustle or to promote your brand, you may be aware of the importance of finding a best-selling niche.

However, if you have not yet carried out merch niche research and are unsure why it is so important for your business, today we will tell you everything you need to know about niches and sub-niches, and how to find yours!

What Is A Niche?

A niche is a specialized segment of broader markets. It targets a specific audience that demands certain products, defined by unique characteristics, such as needs, preferences, and identities.

For example, the animal lovers industry is large and broad, offering a myriad of options. However, targeting specific niches such as cat lovers or capybara fans provides very interesting possibilities. You can even go deeper and work with a sub-niche. Cute beds for cats. A line of capybara-inspired clothing. As long as there is demand (we’ll get into that later on), you can let your imagination fly.Happy Capybara Hoodie

Why Is Finding A Niche Important?

Finding a niche that sells is crucial if you not only want to create a steady revenue stream but also build credibility within a community and establish a loyal audience.

The benefits of finding a profitable niche are:

  • Less competition. Entering a niche differentiates you from other sellers. You don’t have to compete with big brands; instead, you can focus on your products and audience.
  • Better search visibility. A specific niche will take your store to higher spots in search engine result pages since the competition’s offer is usually lower.
  • A more loyal customer base. Customers will choose your merch over others, as niche brands demonstrate more passion, and usually better quality, than big brands. Additionally, they’ll feel a greater connection with your business.
  • Reduced marketing costs. By targeting a particular, narrow audience, you will avoid competing with brands with greater resources, and ads for your merch store are more likely to be effective on your customers, even to the point of building a closer relationship with them.
  • Higher profit. When you offer quality products from a certain niche that fit their needs, your customers are more prone to spend on your brand more frequently, without being so reluctant about the prices.

With this in mind, you are one step closer to creating a successful online store and starting to sell your products to the right audience.

How Can You Find The Right Niche?

Conducting niche research takes time and effort, but it is worth it. These are 5 simple steps to find the perfect niche for your merch.

1. Follow Your Interests And Passions

Your niche should come from your own experience, goals, interests, abilities, and values. Consider both what you enjoy doing in your free time and those fields in which you have experience or skills. Also, keep in mind the areas where your interests and strengths overlap: this is where you’ll be most likely to find a niche that fits your passions.

If you base your brand on something you truly believe in and are willing to fight for, you are more likely to stay motivated and your business to be successful. On the other hand, if you work on something you don’t like or are not interested in, it will be harder to find the drive to continue and there is a greater chance that you will decide to quit. Starting a business is challenging; only strong motivation will keep you going.

Due to your personal tastes, preferences, and needs, you are also part of various sub-niches. Give yourself a minute to think about your favorite brands and your latest purchases. Can you identify the reasons behind your own behaviors as a customer?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the topics that interest you the most?
  • What do you do in your free time?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Do you have any specific skills?
  • What activities do you look forward to doing?
  • What clubs or organizations are you a part of?
  • What platforms are you subscribed to?

These answers can help you choose a niche that you can remain interested in in the long term, which could turn your online store into a successful and sustainable business. Still don’t know where to start? Vexels has a new niche finder tool that allows you to find best-selling niches and sub-niches in a matter of minutes. Based on AI, this tool will help you generate niches from any input, whether your own or random, and automate merch designs and quotes based on the results.Idea to niche example

2. Identify A Problem To Be Solved

Now that you have some ideas in mind, start thinking about the following: what problems or needs can you solve within your niche? Listen to your audience, pay attention to what they ask for, and give them a solution that makes them prefer your products to any other.

Explore forums like Quora or Reddit, where people often post their problems or questions for help. Google Trends is also a great ally for understanding your potential clients. Take the time to learn about your audience’s preferences and behaviors to understand their needs better. You can even do surveys to gather ideas. This is your opportunity to get to know the audience you want to work with.

3. Determine The Profitability Of Your Niche

Knowing your audience in depth is key to determining whether the demand for the niche you have chosen is high or low and assessing if you can create a profitable and sustainable business. For this, you have to search for words or phrases related to your niche in tools like SEMrush, Google Trends, Answer the Public, or Exploding Topics, where you can evaluate the competition level and search volume.

Finding keywords with a high search volume is an indicator of a potential profitable niche, although there may be greater competition. On the other hand, low volume may indicate that no one has managed to monetize that niche. The key is balance: try to find keywords with a good amount of searches but without an overabundance of products.

Also, check out products similar to the ones you plan to sell on sites like Amazon or PRICEFY.IO to be informed about their pricing and offers so that you can set competitive prices. As we will see in the next section, studying the competition is another key to defining if a niche is worth it and if you can differentiate your brand from others.

4. Take A Look At The Competition

Analyzing the market carefully is a crucial step before deciding your niche. Pay attention to whether there are large or small companies that offer products similar or the same as those you intended to sell in your online store. This is not necessarily a bad thing: it can be an indicator of a profitable niche. Ask yourself if you have enough skills to compete with these companies and if your approach adds value to this market. Is there an opportunity to stand out?

You can outperform your competitors if their products don’t have the same quality or utility as yours, for example. Therefore, it is always in your best interest to study your competition and find their weak points, to create superior products that fulfill the needs of your potential customers.

There are concrete actions you can take to research your competitors better. For example:

  • A simple Google search. You can find your competition by searching the name of your niche and the name of your product (for example, dark academia + mugs), as long as they have done a good job of SEO (search engine optimization, a process that improves the visibility of your website in search engines like Google or Bing). Take them as a reference and get ideas, but don’t forget to add your share of originality.
  • Keyword research. If you haven’t done this yet, the time has come. What keywords have the most traffic? Which ones pose the most difficulty? If you find a keyword with a lot of traffic and little competition, you are on the right track.
  • Check online marketplaces. Another place where you can find your competitors is online marketplaces like Etsy and RedBubble. Find successful businesses that work with your niche and study their marketing tactics and top products.
  • Search on social media. Similarly, it is very useful to find your competition on social media. For example, through influencers or hashtags related to your niche. Thus, you will not only be able to take note of their strategies but also be aware of their movements and news.

5. Test Your Niche

Finally, it’s time to validate your idea to find out how well-received it is by the target audience. You have different options for this:

1. Reach Your Friends And Survey Your Target Audience

One way to find out what others think about your ideas is to… ask them! Talk to your friends and acquaintances and ask them what they think of your products. Would they be interested in purchasing them? Why? Likewise, you can create surveys to analyze your target audience and promote them on social media, for example.

2. Set Up A Landing Page

Setting up a landing page so customers can find your business is a good idea to gain visibility. Use it for pre-sales or give out free samples to see how your target audience receives the product. Use paid ads to drive traffic to your site. Remember that having high traffic and low conversions is not necessarily a problem with the niche, but rather it could be the copy you are using on your site. Write engaging descriptions or, if that seems like a lot of work, let Vexels’ new AI-based tool do it for you and, what’s more, you can even create your own online store and leave all the hard work in our hands.

3. Do An A/B Test

If you still have doubts about your niche, you can conduct an A/B test (an experiment with two variables) to discover what may not be working before discarding your ideas. You can change everything, from customizing your site to the copy you are using, for instance.  

4. Constant Improvement

If you have already identified the niche you want to work with, don’t forget to keep constantly improving. Continue researching and receiving feedback on your products. Stay as up-to-date as possible. Thus, your niche will be productive and profitable for longer.Niche generation examples

Final Thoughts

Now you not only know why it is essential to look for a niche that sells, but you have everything you need to find it, from the first steps of your research to testing the ideas with your target audience. Reaching a best-selling niche with a high search volume and low competition that your audience is willing to spend money on may be difficult, but not impossible. It is the best way for your merch business to be successful and long-lasting.

The process to get to that point can be overwhelming and tiring; remember that Vexels has an AI-based niche finder that saves you several steps and effort. By simply entering your ideas, you will discover several niches and sub-niches from which you can generate incredible designs and engaging quotes, and match them to the products you have chosen in high-quality mockups.